KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed support for joint investments in various sectors under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as he inaugurated the 1,320-megawatt China Hub Power Generation Plant in Balochistan.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Imran said that this is the first joint project under CPEC and the government wants to see the pattern evolve in the future.
“I am happy that under CPEC, the first joint project [is being inaugurated]. We want to see the pattern continue,” the premier said, adding that big Chinese companies want to come to Pakistan.
“The joint projects are welcome; the government will fully support [such projects],” he said, requesting the managers of the newly built power plant to consume at least 20 per cent coal from the Thar coal reserves. The project “will help us reduce the Current Account Deficit (CAD),” he added.
The premier also said that the government is moving towards the second phase of CPEC and it has established CPEC Authority to facilitate projects under the programme.
“During my recent visit to China, the president and prime minister expressed interest in boosting CPEC projects,” he said.
The prime minister said that Chinese companies are better than their Pakistani counterparts in terms of productivity and the country would like to benefit from their skills. He added that the government will introduce new techniques in farming sector in collaboration with Chinese enterprises.
The prime minister congratulated Hubco Chairman Habibullah Khan on the project and asked him to use more indigenous coal for power generation. He also asked him to work on water projects for Karachi.
Imran expressed disappointment over the “inability” of the previous governments to utilise the rich hydropower resources available in Pakistan.
Talking about his government’s economic reforms, he said that the government is committed to facilitating ease of doing business in the country to attract foreign investments. He added that red tapism and undue hurdles in the way of business are being removed.
“Balochistan has rich mineral deposits. During my visit to the US, the chairman of the company previously working with Rekodik project informed me that Pakistan has one of the largest and finest gold reserves in the world,” he said, adding that the chairman of the said company was still interested in working with Pakistan as they are confident of the incumbent “corruption-free government”.
The prime minister said that apart from mineral resources, Balochistan has vast fisheries resources and development in this sector can help bring valuable foreign exchange to the country.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government inherited a record debt which led to more inflation, devaluation of rupee and other challenges. However, difficult decisions were made which have started yielding positive results, he added.
The prime minister said that for the sake of prosperity in the future, the country should opt for honest and dedicated governance.
“We are committed to the development of our youth,” he said, adding that youngsters are the biggest asset of Pakistan and the government will give them skill training to work in various sectors.
He said that centers of artificial intelligence, robotics and other modern fields are being opened to prepare the youth for the modern work requirements.
Earlier, in his address, Balochistan Chief Minister Jamal Kamal Khan said that investment worth billions of dollars in the province will change the outlook of Balochistan. He said that the province will become a hub of investment in the coming days. Jam Kamal further said that PM Imran is taking special interest in development of Balochistan.
The chief minister said that Balochistan is an unexploited province and is the only place in Pakistan that can boost the economic frontiers of the country in the coming years. He said that the province is endowed with rich mineral resources that are largely untapped and investors can take advantage of these assets.
Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, federal ministers and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.